19 June 2006

Believing scholarship is passionate scholarship

by Dan Phillips

The quality with which one engages in some endeavors can be gauged by its effects.

For instance, concerning karate practice, you could say, "If you don't end up sore and achey, you're not doing it right." Or consider cooking: "If it doesn't make your mouth happy, you're not doing it right." Smooching your loving wife: "If it doesn't feel good, you're not doing it right."

Similarly, concerning Biblical scholarship: "If it doesn't increase your passion, and your love for God, you're not doing it right" (Psalm 119:138 [HCSB]; Jeremiah 23:29; Romans 12:11). When Christ is the teacher, the hearts of His listening students are set on fire (kaiomene) within them (Luke 24:32).

James White well said what I tried to put into words earlier:
...I write as a pastor/theologian/apologist who believes firmly that man is a singular whole--you cannot divide man's mind from his heart, his soul. I am passionate about theology, passionate about the faith. I honestly do not understand how anyone can say "I believe the Bible is the Word of God" without being passionate about that confession. I love the Trinity, justification by faith, the Resurrection, and sola scriptura. I do not pretend to be dispassionate about these things, and, as such, I stand firmly on this assertion: Christian scholarship that lacks passion about the truth is not worthy of the name Christian to begin with. If dispassion and detachment are necessary attributes of scholarship, then I do not seek the appellation. I cannot comprehend dry faith, arid confession, or mere mental assent. (Scripture Alone [Bethany House: 2004], p. 10.)

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Mike Y said...


Well summarized and great supporting quote, too. I feel the same way. And at the end of the day, we're told, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness."

I can think of no better hobby than deeply studying the word of God that my heart and mind might be more conformed to that of Christ. I consider it the highest form of personal worship.

But what can I say? I'm often viewed as a nut.


Sojourner said...

To prove that my love scholarship is real and profound, I am busily working on a poem called:

Ode to the Aorist and Deponant Verbs

So far, I can't get past the thought without breaking down.

Trinian said...


...assorted other rolling on floor laughings....

*tear* That's beautiful.

In honor of your passion, I will kiss the next deponent 1st aorist verb I see (but not one of those filthy 2nds).


DJP said...

And that's just Greek.

Wait until you get to Hebrew, and "hollow" verbs!

"Hollow"! As if! So underappreciated!

(You guys are terrible.)

Mike Y said...

I think there needs to be an ode to the disjunctive tiphca.

Kim said...

If dispassion and detachment are necessary attributes of scholarship, then I do not seek the appellation.

I like that.

donsands said...

Nice thoughts to consider. There's no doubt that James White loves God Word. He's got that fire in his belly.

Do you think this passion for the truth is a byproduct of the Cross?

And yet we do need to fan this fire I would think.

Those who have not come to the Cross will never love the Word, nor have a passion for the truth.
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Rom. 8:7

Even So... said...

"Wait until you get to Hebrew, and "hollow" verbs!"

Hebrew? I still can't seem to remember its backwards!

Good thing I stick to NT exposition most of the time...

Steve said...

Sadly, some so-called Christian academics, in their writings, are more concerned with appeasing their peers than pleasing God. This is evident in many areas of study, but particularly in the realm of biblical archaeology. Biblical archaeologists willing to take a stand for inerrancy and who have a true passion for God's Word are rare birds.

SFB said...

Dear brothers... I am so much less educated and trained in the great theology of the Word as you all are, but yet, these words are a source of stirring in my heart. Oh, that we would leave off our desire for human accolades and strive instead to be known as shakers of Hell itself: "Jesus I know, and Paul I know", but who are WE? Pray with and for me that God would again visit His people with the outstretching of His hand in power.